EDINA, Minn. (WCCO) – Saturday afternoon a group of Twin Cities pastors organized a rally in Edina to focus on race.
A large group gathered at Edina City Hall and marched to a popular shopping area on 50th Street and France Avenue.
Marchers say they’re calling attention to experiences black men have with police officers.
This rally comes after video of an Edina police officer stopping Larnie Thomas went viral last week, after the officer stopped Thomas for walking in the street.
The video shows Lt. Tim Olson grabbing Thomas by the back of his jacket.
Members of the Minneapolis NAACP tell WCCO Thomas isn’t speaking publicly about what happened at this time.
Since that incident, the city of Edina and the police department have said the officers involved were following proper procedure but the department will take time to review some best practices and training against bias.
The city says the citation against Thomas will be dismissed.
Those rallying Saturday say this incident as well as the police killings of Jamar Clark and Philando Castile represent a larger systemic problem of racial profiling and bias within law enforcement that impacts the entire state, not just the Twin Cities.
Men wore “I Am A Man” shirts in reference to signs some protesters held during the Civil Rights movement in the late 1960s.
Pastors who organized the event say there is still a long way to go in improving relationships between people of color and police departments in Minnesota.
“It’s just that thing, the real dignity and respect that we need as human beings, as black men in this world,” Pastor Danny Givens Jr. with Above Every Name Ministries said. “We are tired of being mistreated and downtrodden by this system.”
Edina police officers did help safely guide the people marching through the streets. It was a peaceful protest.